Raffaella Carrà and that phenomenon "Pedro"

Raffaella Carrà and that phenomenon “Pedro”

With Raffaella Carrà we have become accustomed to “Easter” episodes, that is to record resurrections that bring new digital disciples, thanks to the multiplication of clicks and mind-boggling dances on the platforms, in view of the summer bedlam. It was also the turn of “Pedro”, a song taken from Bach's “Siciliana”, released on May 6, 1980, and now very popular remixed by German DJs Jaxomy and Agatino Romero, with over 35 million streams, 6 billion views on TikTok, at the top of Spotify's global Viral 50.

Paradoxes of post-mortem goals: she is the first Italian female artist to reach number one in this ranking. In 1978 she was the first Italian woman to enter the British top ten with “Do it do it again”, the English version of “A far l'amore begins tu”, then reshuffled in 2011 by Bob Sinclair and leavened in the film “The Great Beauty ”. .

There are those who recorded these two songs at the time, mixed them, already done in a thousand versions: «It was almost crazy» recalls Gaetano Vituzzi, Carrà's historic sound engineer «In Italy Raffaella was mainly a television case, but abroad he was also a stratospheric recording phenomenon. They asked us for versions all over the world, so every time, on the same basis, we recorded the voice again. His commitment was surprising. He studied with teachers speaking Spanish, French and English, he practiced his pronunciation and he arrived very prepared in front of the microphone.”

She called him “the Vituzzino”.

They had met at RCA: «The first song we recorded was “Accidenti a quell'evenera”, where the metric went at incredible speed and Raffaella was as good as Mina in “Brava”. Then we moved to CGD, CBS and Boncompagni elected me as chief engineer of his Roman studio, the Bus Studio. Since I was a designer, I built the mixer that Carrà used. I worked on “Fiesta”, which exploded in South America and there the triad that would make “Pedro” was already formed, namely Gianni Boncompagni, Paolo Ormi and Franco Bracardi. They had found the right path for that market, happy songs brought forward by a credible artist. We were a beautiful team. Boncompagni arrived dressed in furs and Elton John-style clothes, joking until he came up with the brilliant word of a lyric; Bracardi played with the keys, a kind of western pianist; Ormi, as a conductor, gave dignity to everything with the arrangements. If I remember correctly, he was the one who did the initial clapping of “Pedro”, to give that Spanish feel with the handclapping. Raffaella always came to record in the afternoon, she ran here and there between the gym, dance rehearsals, lessons with vocal coaches. She was very professional. The other three did everything they could to make it go off track, they enjoyed hijacking it. Luckily she was very ironic, never a diva. She's ironic, but she's serious even on the lighter songs like “Pedro”.

But who is the Pedro of the text? Some say a dancer from his staff, others an Argentine impresario. Let's try to reconstruct the story. Carrà landed in South America in the autumn of 1978, with thirty people in tow, and seven tons of material including costumes and lights. She boasted six platinum albums and a triumphant stadium tour, where she always entered and left escorted by the police. In 1979, at the concert in Buenos Aires, many fans were unable to enter. There was one who tried to break the controls just to listen to her, and ended up in prison for a night. His name was Diego Armando Maradona, just eighteen years old.

On 17 October 1979 Carrà performed in Santa Fe, in the Club Atlético Unión stadium: an hour and fifteen minutes of show, sixteen changes of clothes, two encores. The following year he published “Pedro”, obviously the local press liked the idea that he was an impresario from Santa Fe. It is not known whether he existed. He could be one of Boncompagni's flashes. «Gianni had a quick mind but he was lazy and he hated flying» says Vituzzi «he didn't go to Argentina with Raffaella, he probably heard some stories about him and constructed the text based on them».
The fact is that she sang about a vacation in Santa Fe, where she met a boy who offered himself as a tour guide and became her lover.

Once again, in total light-heartedness, Carrà pushed for women's liberation in Argentina under dictatorship. .

“Pedro” was the first single from the album “Mi spendo tutto”, in Argentina, Uruguay and Peru published with the title “¡Bárbara!”, because many tracks were included in the soundtrack of that musical comedy, directed by Gino Landi and filmed right in Buenos Aires. A film released only on the South American market, never in Italy. In the rest of the world it was distributed under the title “Latino”. The original video was shot in an amusement park and in the alleys of Buenos Aires. Today, in the German producers' version, the shots are Italian, a succession of stereotypes between Vespas and culinary signs. No political or social subtext. And the blonde in the center doesn't even have a hairdresser in common with Carrà. More viral than this video is the one of the raccoon. Same remix, with Pedro the raccoon. It doesn't do anything except spin to the beat of the drum in fours. In the memed society, that's enough to make a splash.

However, Jaxomy and Agatino Romero are not the first to have recovered the song.

“Pedro” had a second life last year, when Spanish socialists sang it to celebrate leader Pedro Sánchez. It was not the simple coincidence between the politician's name and the title, nor just the memory of when Carrà had declared herself to be left-wing (“I have always voted communist” she said in an interview). It is precisely that she, free and clean, had arrived in Spain with the end of the Franco regime, and since then she has continued to embody an ideal of a more open society. These days, the chorus of “Pedro, Pedro, Pedro, Pedro, Pe” can be heard again in the streets of Spain, because Sánchez has decided not to resign from the government following the investigation into his wife. The difference is that the crowd this time supported him by singing the raccoon's version. .